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Ascension: Corso 25 (The Myriad book 1)

by Feltrix


"Taanyth wants you to help me catch the Alok?” I asked.

Nyx grinned as she strapped on her gauntlet and ran a hand over the brass plating. “Yeah. Weird, isn’t it?”

“It’s insane,” Laryn growled. “The Alchemist can’t be trusted.” I agreed.

“I’m not the problem here,” Nyx retorted.

“You tried to kill me yesterday!” I objected.

“That was, what, eighteen hours ago?” she replied. “Anyway, I understand that Taanyth said you would save the world, and you obviously need me because you’re new at this and, let’s face it, the elves haven’t gotten so far. So what’s he doing here?” She gestured at Laryn.

“The Alok took my sister, Fae,” the elf replied. “And Taanyth needed someone to supervise your progress. I volunteered.”

Nyx’s eyebrow shot up. “You’re our babysitter?”

“No,” he said. “I’m your supervisor.”

The girl sighed. “Alright. Corso. You’re a pyromancer, yes? How accomplished are you?”

“Not...very.”

“Your first time using magic was when you shot a fireball at me, wasn’t it?” Nyx replied.

“Yeah,” I admitted.

Nyx groaned again. “Of course. Starting from scratch,” she said. “Laryn, how about you?”

“I’m a pretty good archer,” he said. “And a decent swordsman.”

“I hope you’re being modest,” she grumbled. “Okay, Corso, we’re going to have to start your training.”

“Right now?”

“Right now.”

“Why do I need training?” I asked. “Shouldn’t we be trying to track down the Alok before anyone else goes missing?”

Without warning, Nyx’s metallic fist slammed into me. The breath shot from my chest and I was knocked to the ground. Confused and annoyed, I surged to my feet, swinging a punch at the Alchemist’s face. She swayed easily to the side and twisted my arm behind my back. I was immobilized.

Nyx released me. “That’s why you need training.” I glared, but she ignored me and walked out the door of the tree. “Coming?”

I could feel a bruise developing where Nyx had punched me as Laryn lead us to an arena of sorts. It was a circle about fifty feet across, with a smooth, grassy ground. Unlike the rest of the village, there were no vines or roots crisscrossing the ground and no bushes popping out of the ground.

“What are we doing here?” I growled.

“You’re going to learn magic,” Nyx said. She backed away from me a few paces. Laryn stood at the edge of the arena with his arms crossed, observing us in silence.

“Shoot a fireball at me,” the Alchemist commanded.

“What?”

“You heard me.” Nyx’s hands hung loosely at her sides and she had adopted a non-threatening stance. The prospect of imminent death by fire didn’t seem to concern her in the slightest.

“I… Remember how that went the last time?” I replied. I tried to stay nonchalant, but I found that although I didn’t really want to hurt her, part of me did want to blast her with fire. I was still annoyed that she’d punched me and then dismantled my attack, she’d tried to kill me the day before, and I didn’t trust her. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had plenty of reasons to attack her. Anyway, the Alchemist wouldn’t ask me to shoot her if she couldn’t handle it.

This brought up another problem: I couldn’t. When Nyx attacked me, I’d acted entirely on instinct. I’d had no idea what I was doing or how I was doing it. Afterward, I’d tried to replicate the event in the tree room Taanyth had provided, but I hadn’t gotten so much as a spark. Whatever power I’d developed had disappeared as quickly as it had come.

“I don’t have all day, Ghostfire,” Nyx coaxed. “Come on. Just one fireball.”

“I… can’t,” I said with a slight droop in my posture.

“That’s what I thought.” She pulled a candle from her pocket and tossed it to me. “Light that.”

I was becoming embarrassed about my woefully inadequate knowledge of magic.

“How?” was my abashed reply.

“Come here.” Nyx motioned me over to her and sat down. I followed suit. “Give me the candle.” I did, and she drove it into the ground. I noticed Laryn was watching us with a new intensity. “Magic is an energy,” the Alchemist explained. “An energy that, for whatever reason, can allow some people to do incredible things or imbue objects with power. In it’s purest form, magic is called æther. You can see it in the air the same way you can see electricity in lightning. Æther is a flowing blue mist, but that’s not the point. Æther is everywhere, surrounding us at all times. It’s what holds this universe and the rest together. All it needs from you is direction. Concentrate on the candle, and visualize it for what it really is. Visualize the fiber of the wick. Imagine the air molecules surrounding it combusting, and focus all of your willpower into that task. Magic and science aren’t so different. All you’re doing is directing energy.”

I took a deep breath and focused on the candle, on heat streaming into the wick. A tiny wisp of smoke trailed from the string. I was so shocked by my success that I completely lost focus.

“I did it! Did you see that? It smoked!” I gasped.

Nyx gave me a bemused smile. “Yes, I’m sure your smoking candle will defeat the Alok. Again.”

I focused on the candle, willing it to burn, and this time, a tiny flame burst from the wick. I felt a surge of excitement. This was working! I was making progress! I was learning magic!

The Alchemist raised an eyebrow, mustering a pleased expression. “That was quick. Go stand by that tree,” she said, pointing. I rose and moved over to the tree. “Light the candle.”

I reached out with my mind, drawing heat towards the candle. It took more effort than before, but the candle lit again.

“That’s….impressive,” Nyx said, but something seemed off about her expression.

“What is it?” I asked.

“What’s what?”

“You’re acting odd,” I said. “You can’t do it, can you?”

“Do what?”

“Nyx, you’re very intelligent,” Laryn said, breaking his silence. “It doesn’t suit you to play dumb.”

“You can’t light the candle,” I said.

“With magic? I probably could if I mustered enough energy,” she said. “But no, not easily. I can think of a thousand other ways to do it. With a burst of fire from my gauntlet. With a match. Transmute the candle into sodium and drip water on it. It’s just... magic has never really been my strong suit.”

I had never seen Nyx do anything with anything less than complete nonchalance and success. It was strange to be better at something than her.

Nyx pushed herself to her feet. “Alright, Pyromancer,” she said. “You’ve got the basics down. Let’s try something more complicated. Shoot a fireball at me.”

I must have looked unhappy with the idea, because Nyx said, “Come on, Corso, it took you, what, a full fifteen seconds to light a candle with your brain? It takes most people hours or more. Anyway, you’ve done this before.”

I closed my eyes and held out my hand so that it faced Nyx the way I had when she’d attacked me the day before. With only a touch of trepidation, I put all of my willpower into pushing fire from my palm. I opened my eyes, but the fire that shot out of my hand couldn’t have lit a campfire.

Nyx grimaced. “Well, I guess that was too much to hope for,” she said. “Still, in a week I’ll have you burning down cities.”

“Why would you have me burn down cities?”

Nyx ignored my question. “Laryn, it’s your turn.”

The elf raised an eyebrow. “My turn?”

“You’re going to teach Corso to use a sword.”


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Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:26 pm
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Rydia wrote a review...



Oh dear, it looks like the team could use a few more points ^^

Specifics

1.

I could feel a bruise developing where Nyx had punched me as Laryn lead led us to an arena of sorts.


2.
It was a circle about fifty feet across, with a smooth, grassy ground. Unlike the rest of the village, there were no vines or roots crisscrossing the ground and no bushes popping out of the ground.
You've used ground three times in two sentences - try to avoid repeating a word unless it's a very interesting one. You could use earth instead or soil or re-phrase the first part to 'smooth, grassy terrain'. Surface/ landscape would work too.

3. The description is a little light in this chapter again. The magic lesson is really fun and it's great to get an explanation of how the characters actually make their magic work but there's not a lot of attention to detail. I want to see more little things, like the description of blowing the candle out in between or to understand what their body language is. Does Nyx have a tendency to raise her fists or tug on her hair when she's thinking? Do any of them gesticulate a lot when talking to emphasise their point?I find people used to speaking to others in a language which isn't their mother tongue do that a lot so I wonder if elves normally talk in another language and if so, does that make them prone to using hand gestures to emphasise their words?

Overall

This is a really nice filler chapter! It's good to see the characters starting to interact with each other more and their personalities really start to shine through here. There's something very endearing about Corso who's very modest and quite quick to follow orders but who also has a sort of childish delight about new things. Its nice to see Nyx isn't entirely unimpressed by everything as well.

I think once you get some more description in to flesh the scenery out a bit more and to show us a little more of their body language then this will really start to come together. Either way, it's a good bonding chapter.

All the best,

~Heather




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Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:39 pm
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zaminami wrote a review...



Heyo, Feltrix worship the Cosmic Squid! Nice new avatar! Kara here to give a quick review!

Give me your soul plz

STOP! It's Grammar Time:



You are very good with grammar. The second one is literally just a nitpick :D

“The Alchemist can’t be trusted.” I agreed.


This needs to be on a separate paragraph from the dialogue before it.

I was still annoyed that she’d punched me and then dismantled my attack, she’d tried to kill me the day before, and I didn’t trust her.


I'm pretty sure this is a comma splice. I would add a period instead of that first comma, and then put "besides" as the first word of the new sentence.

Overall:



This was a very short chapter and I was confused as to what was going on since I haven't read the other chapters before, haha. Honestly, I should probably find the time to do so :/

Why haven't you given me your soul yet? Geez. --

Knight Kara of KotGR




Feltrix says...


Thanks for the review and the grammar critiques! I would appreciate anyone reviewing my chapters, but it's fine if you don't.

Hail the Cosmic Squid.



zaminami says...


:D okay. Can you tag me for the next one?

HAIL



Feltrix says...


Sure!



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Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:37 pm
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BluesClues wrote a review...



Okay, so I officially love Nyx. I feel like I've only read bits and pieces from this story and different points, but if I'd only read this chapter...like, we just get the best image of who she is here.

“Why do I need training?” I asked. “Shouldn’t we be trying to track down the Alok before anyone else goes missing?”

Without warning, Nyx’s metallic fist slammed into me. The breath shot from my chest and I was knocked to the ground. Confused and annoyed, I surged to my feet, swinging a punch at the Alchemist’s face. She swayed easily to the side and twisted my arm behind my back. I was immobilized.

Nyx released me. “That’s why you need training.”


“I don’t have all day, Ghostfire,” Nyx coaxed. “Come on. Just one fireball.”

“I… can’t,” I said with a slight droop in my posture.

“That’s what I thought.” She pulled a candle from her pocket and tossed it to me. “Light that.”


Nyx grimaced. “Well, I guess that was too much to hope for,” she said. “Still, in a week I’ll have you burning down cities.”


But we also get to see a more vulnerable side of her where she's a little embarrassed or uncertain because she can't use magic as easily as the others. Plus, even though she's sassy and (apparently?) tried to kill Corso in a previous chapter, she's also a good teacher - look at the way she gets down to business to explain magic to him.

I am curious about why someone who just tried to kill him would suddenly agree to help him instead, but I'm guessing that either has been explained or is going to be explained. Although I do find it a bit odd that Corso doesn't ask about this or consider it more.

Otherwise I don't have much to say here. I really enjoyed the way the characters all played off each other and how distinct they are: Corso in unsure of himself and his abilities, Nyx likes to goof off and push the others' buttons, and Laryn is the straight man. Plus there was a nice balance of abilities - magic vs. more mechanical/sciencey doings vs. weaponry - and I appreciate that while Corso is evidently naturally better at magic than your average person (taking seconds to learn to light a candle vs. hours) and has launched a fireball before, he still has to take the time to learn how to do it on command and control.

(Not unlike Aang in AtLA.)

This review courtesy of
Image




Feltrix says...


First of all, thanks for the review! And, while it's difficult to chose a favorite and I feel like I'm betraying the others by saying this, but I think Nyx is my favorite of my protagonists. So, yeah, Nyx tried to kill Corso earlier on, but she didn't really want to. She was being forced to. Now she's in a situation where it's in her best interests to help him. I hope that mostly clears things up. Anyway, thanks again for the review!



BluesClues says...


Oh, sure, that makes a lot more sense now as to why someone who was trying to kill him would now be perfectly fine with helping him! And you're very welcome :)




You are all the colours in one, at full brightness.
— Jennifer Niven, 'All the Bright Places'